Nothing says “hitting the panic button” more than Boston Red Sox fans saying the team needs to sign Stephen Drew. Have we all gone mad here? Am I the only sane person in the room right now? What exactly is Drew going to do to improve this Red Sox team? I’ll take a whole lot of nothing for $500, Alex.
Let’s start with the basics. Drew is an unsigned free agent for a reason. When the Red Sox offered Drew arbitration, it gave Drew some baggage. Any team willing to sign him would have to relinquish a draft pick that would be compensated back to the Red Sox. It really showed the true value Drew had on the market. Is he worth enough that a team would forfeit a pick for his services? The answer was evident once the season started and Drew is still sitting at home.
Trust me, other players who had this same situation tied to them were signed, so that wasn’t the only reason. When it came down to it, Xander Bogaerts was more than capable of handling the job at shortstop.
So now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at why some of these Red Sox fans want them to sign Drew. It certainly isn’t because of his defense. Yes, Drew is a great defender and is above average at the position, I’ll give him that. But are you about to tell me the reason the Red Sox are doing so poorly right now is because of their fielding? I think not.
The Red Sox currently have a .983 fielding percentage, good for 17th in the majors. So they’re average. Right in the middle of the pack. It’s certainly not the reason they’re losing games, so don’t tell me they need Drew for the defense.
Next we have offense. Now think about that for a moment: “We want Stephen Drew for his offense.” Sounds silly doesn’t it? It is silly because not a single right-minded person says such a thing — ever. Drew is a career .264 hitter with a .329 on-base percentage. Is this really the type of numbers that’s going to save the Red Sox and their offensive woes? Hardly.
Where would Drew bat? Seventh? Eighth? The Red Sox have a huge problem getting guys home. You aren’t typically relying on those hitters to knock guys in, so it’s not the offense that people want.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that fans always questions the moves after they’re made/not made. If they had signed Drew during the offseason and he struggled like he usually does, people would be complaining about how we should have let Drew walk and Bogaerts should have gotten the chance to start at shortstop.
So now that the Red Sox didn’t sign Drew, here comes all the “should have signed Drew” people. I’m sorry, but Drew is and never will be the answer. If the Red Sox even entertained this idea, Drew would certainly want a multi-year contract at a hefty price. There’s no chance he settles on a one-year deal and chance free agency once again. Bogaerts is the team’s shortstop or third baseman of the future, and there’s no reason to toy with that.
Drew is at home waiting for the phone to ring, and when that day comes, it shouldn’t be from the 617 area code.